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Baltimore’s overdose crisis

Strangers making small talk bonded over connection to overdose victim

One of the last people to see Devon Wellington alive, before he overdosed in 2021, has developed a relationship with the man’s mother. She taught him how to use Narcan, and they recently attended a street renaming event together.

Donna Bruce waves her praise flags through the newly renamed street, Devon Wellington’s Way after the ceremonial street signing, in Baltimore, June 5, 2024.

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About this project

The reporters examined Baltimore’s response to rising overdose deaths as part of The New York Times Local Investigations Fellowship.

Reporting by Alissa Zhu, Nick Thieme and Jessica Gallagher. Additional reporting by Cadence Quaranta, Emily Sullivan and Adam Willis, and Cheryl Phillips and Eric Sagara of Big Local News. Additional research by Susan C. Beachy and Kirsten Noyes.

Photography by Jessica Gallagher. Design and web production for The Baltimore Banner by Ryan Little, Emma Patti Harris and Zuri Berry. Audience, social and reader engagement by T.J. Ortenzi, Stokely Baksh and Krishna Sharma. Video and web production for The New York Times by Leo Dominguez, Rebecca Suner and Claire Hogan. Graphics by Molly Cook Escobar, Scott Reinhard and Nick Thieme.

Editing by The New York Times, Kimi Yoshino, Richard Martin, Ryan Little and Emma Patti Harris.

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